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Feds: Late winter storms put snowpack at 135% of normal

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Federal officials released the most recent snowpack data this week, and the news is good.

“March roared like a lion from beginning to end and made up for the slow start to this winter,” the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced. “April 1 snowpacks are 108-244% of median, and all basins across Nevada, the Eastern Sierra and the Upper Colorado have peaked above normal for the second year in a row. The last time back-to-back winters had above-normal snowpacks was 2016 and 2017. Water year precipitation since October 1 ranges from 99-141% of median for the region.”

Normal to above normal streamflows are forecast, and reservoirs are expected to be full across northern Nevada.

It’s the second year in a row the region had above-average precipitation, but things for this year were initially not looking promising.

“The January 1 snowpack was only 44% of median, ranking sixth lowest for the date back to 1981,” NRCS officials noted. “Based on historic data, there was only 30% chance the Eastern Sierra snowpack would reach its median peak by April 1.”

That did not prove to be the case, as precipitation percentages on April 1 are 99-103% of median in the Eastern Sierra basins, 107% in the Upper Colorado, 119% in the Spring Mountains and 121-141% across the rest of northern Nevada.

That means most of the state remains drought-free, with the only parts of southern Nevada remaining in an extended drought.

Source: NRCS

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